, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Over a hundred suspects have been arrested in Mombasa following Sunday’s gun attack on worshipers at the Joy Jesus Church in Likoni.
Likoni police boss Robert Mureithi said the suspects were arrested following a General Service Unit (GSU)-led crackdown in the Likoni area during which several crude weapons were also recovered.
He said the police were interrogating the detainees to establish if they were involved in the suspected terror attack.
“According to anti-terrorism police officers, Likoni is among active terror cells where youths are recruited to join the Al Shabaab terror group,” he said.
The arrests come as the death toll from the attack rose to six with more casualties succumbing to their bullet wounds.
Scores others remain hospitalised including a boy with a bullet lodged in his head.
Meanwhile Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo has appealed to the public for information that may lead to the arrest of the three gunmen who stormed Joy in Jesus on Sunday morning.
“Police who were 100 metres away patrolling the area responded swiftly but unfortunately the gunmen managed to escape. Police have closed all exits in the area and are combing to arrest the criminals to face the law,” he stated.
The three gunmen who remain unidentified stormed the church during a service at about 10am, fatally wounding a guard before shooting indiscriminately at worshippers.
It is not the first time suspected terrorists have targeted church worshipers with similar attacks having occurred in Northern Kenya and in Tanzania in May last year.
Last year October Muslim youth were accused of burning down a Salvation Army church in protest of the killing of controversial Muslim cleric Ibraihm Ismail.
The attack also comes barely a week after police in Mombasa uncovered a vehicle loaded with explosives at one of their impound lots and less than a week after Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku assured the public that security agencies have the security situation in the country firmly in hand.
Last month police raided the Masjid Musa mosque, now Masjid Shuhada, recovering pro-Al Shabaab material as concerns grow over the radicalisation of Muslim youth at the Coast.
“We are keen to ensure that we do not allow outsiders or foreigners to take over our mosques in Mombasa and in the coast region. We’ll not allow outsiders to come and start preaching messages of hatred and religious intolerance,” Lenku affirmed.